Diwali 2022: Kaju Special Full Course Festive Spread
Image Credit: Cashew and Diwali, Image Source: stockimagefactory

Diwali and Kaju, or cashew nuts, are synonymous. Be it preparing sweets or gifting a token of wishes, cashew nuts have been the mainstay during the Festival of Lights. The rich taste and high price give kaju an exotic food tag. It's a symbol of luxury to present a box full of flavoured or plain cashew nuts or decadent sweets made of it. Such is the stature of cashews. So why not try an entire grand festive spread or full-course feast prepared with Kaju? Sounds fascinating? Then scroll down!

Welcome Drink: Vegan Kaju Smoothie

Kaju banana smoothie, Image Source: dreamstime.com

In the blender's pitcher, pour 1 banana finely sliced, 1/3 cup raw cashews, 1/3 cup water, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup ice cubes. Blend on low until all ingredients are almost integrated, then increase the speed to high and process for 30 seconds or until totally pureed. Serve in a glass.

Starter: Masala Kaju Pakoda

Kaju pakoda, Image Source: sitarafoods

In a big bowl, blend 1/2 cup besan, 1/2 cup rice flour, and 1 teaspoon red chilli powder. Mix thoroughly after adding 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds, and 1 cup of finely chopped mint leaves. Add the whole cashew nuts to this mixture and thoroughly mix until the cashews are coated. Pour in 1 tablespoon of hot oil, followed by a small amount of water, to create a lump-free dough. In a wok, heat enough oil for deep frying. Drop the batter into the oil gradually and fry them till crisp and brown in batches. Remove them from the cooking oil and set them on a kitchen towel. Serve hot. 

Entree: Kaju Nariyal Pulao

Kaju coconut rice, Image Source: funfoodfrolic

Soak 1+1/2 cup Basmati rice for 15 minutes, then place in a colander. In the pressure cooker, heat up 2 tablespoons of ghee and sauté 2 bay leaves, 2 loves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 cardamom pods, and 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds. When the spices start to sputter, add 1/2 cup of cashew nuts and cook until they are golden brown. Add the two thinly sliced onions right away and sauté until translucent. Add one tablespoon of garam masala and continue to sauté. Pour  3 cups of coconut milk and allow it to boil.  Add the rice and salt, and cook everything in a pressure cooker with the lid closed for a few minutes, then bring to 2 whistles and turn off the heat. Serve it hot.

Main Course: Jeedipappu Tomato Curry

Tomato cashew curry, Image Source: Tasty Recipe Hut

Make this Andhra style cashew curry. Add 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds to 3 tablespoons of hot oil and let them sputter. Add two grated onions, two curry leaf sprigs, and two red chillies, and cook until lightly golden. Stir in the 1/2 cup cashew nuts and fry thoroughly. Mix in 1 tablespoon ginger and garlic paste and continue to sauté. Add 1/4 tsp of garam masala, 1 teaspoon red chilli powder, salt to taste, 1/2 tsp of toasted cumin seed powder, and 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder, then cook. On medium flame, add 3 tablespoons of tomato paste. Add 2 chopped tomatoes. Cook them until they are tender. Add 2 tablespoons of cashew paste now and stir well. Pour 2 cups of water. Cook the concoction over a medium flame until the oil rises to the top. Complete the cooking by adding a handful of fresh coriander leaves and 1 tablespoon of ghee and turn off the heat.

Dessert: Kaju Oatmeal Milk Halwa

Kaju vegan halwa, Image Source: holycowvegan
Blend the 1 cup of raw cashews, 8 pitted Medjool dates, and 1 1/2 cups of oatmeal milk until creamy. In a nonstick wok, heat 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Pour the date-cashew puree and cook until it turns to thicken. Add 1/4 cup of almond flour and 1 teaspoon of cardamom powder. Cook the mixture until it begins to darken and start to pull away from the wok's sides. Till the liquid evaporates and the halwa becomes slick, continue stirring.  After adding a generous pinch of saffron, turn off the flame. Add nuts, dried fruits, and flakes of sweetened coconut as a garnish. Serve cold or at room temperature.

You know how to impress your guests now with these cashew delights.